Youtube Stories: My Journey to Monetization

The podcast of this blogpost is available here.

This post has been languishing in my drafts folder for months, and I thought it was about time I finished it and published it. I’ve been a content creator for 9 months now, but I actually started in Youtube in 2007 as a “watcher” — as part of the then growing YouTube audience. I did try to make a video or two in the intervening years since, but I never really quite caught the groove. So I dropped out, came back, and was totally discouraged by the monetization requirements of years past. I marked my web presence on Instagram and recently, Tiktok, but it was just me being there, documenting my days. It was just like writing here was to me— a way to memorialize life.

Then sometime in June, a friend who has had quite the success with her own channel goaded me into giving it a try. This time, I had her wisdom and guidance to encourage me through the seemingly tall order of racking up 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours within a year. (240,000 minutes!) She told me she knew I would be able to do it, given my penchant to snap pictures and videos of things I bump into and pass as a denizen of New York City.

I had 3 accounts which had videos of some sort and which were connected to my personal brand and pursuits. There was GothamChick which, like my blog, was meant to be my crafting channel. There was The Postcard Storyteller which had two or three videos uploaded in the last year, given my return to active postcard trading. Then there was, of course, Pinay New Yorker, which I snagged in 2007 when I started on YouTube.

Of the three, the choice of Pinay New Yorker was obvious given my focus on “New York.” I also thought it would be a good partner to my 2-years-in-the-making podcast which I wanted to call “Conversations with Pinay New Yorker”. With all that settled, I started with begging friends and relatives to subscribe and add to my 20-something viewers. This was important because I could not do any streaming videos until I hit 50. And when I did, the journey started in earnest.

I knew from the start my vlog was going to be about New York. There were endless subjects to film as I had been doing, and it was a topic of interest to the world. Something as common as walking past the Chrysler Building (which happens to be my favorite building in New York City, by the way,) was a sight to behold for people thousands of miles away. I could take footage of my walk to work along Park Avenue, and that was already one video to upload.

I also didn’t even have to debate the topic of being in front of the camera or just putting out a so-called faceless channel, because I wanted the focus of the channel to be New York, not me. I have always been confident that New York, by itself, would be enough to sell my channel. And to be honest, I don’t have the self-assuredness to actually show myself on cam beyond my voice and my hands. So that was settled.

I published a long livestream the first opportunity I got, which was when I hit my first 50 subscribers. I uploaded content consistently, going around the parks and sights and doing Times Square and similar attractions. I made sure my videos were at least 10 minutes long, and I toyed with the thumbnail until I settled on the current one which I am reworking across my channel. It was simpler, direct to the point, and almost always mentioned New York or NYC somewhere there. This wasn’t my own idea— I looked at well established channels showcasing destinations and picked up the simplicity of their titles.

I managed to rack up the 4,000 hours before the 1000 subscribers which was the more difficult task of the two for me. I joined community chats in the livestreams, actively sought out so-called “new and beginning YouTubers” like myself, leaving comments and subscribing to their channels. And more importantly, I started creating shorts.

Shorts are a minute or less clips that have their own category in the YouTube realm. Again, I focused on the easily obtainable clips of my daily life. People walking to work, the New York icons all around me like Times Square, and our parks. My breakfast or the sizzling steak I’m cooking. A BTS birthday video I caught quite by accident, or clips of magazine pages referencing HRH Queen Elizabeth II when she passed. I was so surprised at what topics or clips caught people’s fancy. And I was even more surprised at how those shorts brought in the subscribers.

In 4 months, I became a YouTube partner. My channel was finally monetized with my 1000 subscribers, and over 5000 of the 4000 watch hour requirements.

It’s been just over 5 months since, and I’m at 2270 subscribers as of this writing. And to be honest, my YouTube revenue just slumped over $20 a week or two ago. Yay on that! I’m not fazed or discouraged. This whole journey, after all, has always been meant to be a stress free and fun passion project. And to date, it has stayed that way.

I’m hoping to make it to 3000 subscribers by the time I hit my first year anniversary. Baby steps.

I am still a new YouTuber, otherwise referred to as a beginner. I claim no expertise other than what I have managed to build within my channel. I want to help fellow new YouTubers to establish their own channels by sharing my journey, and I have been so surprised at how many Pinoys are out there. It makes me feel proud to be among both small and big channels alike, because I feel like I am part of a big community of kababayans (countrymen) who are trying to make their way around YouTube.

And my biggest supporters and mentors have come from the same group. Being on YouTube isn’t quite as easy or as glamorous an activity as others might think. You have to go in with low expectations, and a boat load of confidence. You have to be willing to learn and to share, and do your own marketing and networking to grow. it does take a village, starting with your first 1000 subscribers. Your first 240,000 minutes watched or the 4000 watch hour requirement cannot be achieved alone.

So I seek out new organic subs and watchers— I look at what my analytics tell me, and I try to learn from those who have done more than I have. It is a journey I have come to enjoy and have fun with — and one I will stay on for as long as it stays that way for me.

I upload shorts everyday, and a long form or full video at least every 3-4 days, if not daily. You can find me on YouTube as @pinay.newyorker , or you can just click on this link.

Finally, as we YouTubers always say, please don’t forget to click the “like” and “subscribe” button.

Below is my latest upload, showing New York as I ride a bus out of Manhattan, on the way home.

Pinay New Yorker in China… ?

It befuddles me why a Chinese company would want to register my domain name in China when they probably have no idea what the name means, or if they do, they have no association with the name itself.

I received an email a few days back from a domain registry company in China asking me if this company was related to me as they were seeking approval for the registration of the .cn domain name.  I didn’t even get flattered by the inquiry — I was miffed.  And no, I don’t think I should get flattered, because although I am but a peep here, I have taken cared of the name and have renewed the domain name year in and year out because I have laid claim to it by building it here.

And then this…

Today I got another e-mail, this time from the company itself (which I refuse to name here because I don’t want to help advertise them) saying whether or not I protest, they will go ahead and register it because it is important to their business.  Which again, I cannot understand, because how can they be related to something Filipina and New Yorker.  I am taking offense that they want to be associated with the name.  So what would happen is when an internet search is initiated for Pinay New Yorker, the search results would show them in the list of hits along with my URL.

I feel like I’m being used.  And what can be so darn important about Pinay New Yorker to a company in China?

"About Me" updated

I don’t know about you but when I visit someone’s blog and read what they have on their site, I make it a point to read the “about me” page just to get to know the writer better.  This page had stood as is since 2010 which is a long time to keep an “About Me” Page not updated.  So today I gave it a shot.

I’m Filipina  (hence, the PINAY which is slang for FILIPINA in the vernacular.)

I’ve called the big apple my home the last 12 years. (Before that, I was in Manila where I was born and raised in Erap Country. And yes, I do live in New York City in the borough of Queens in a beautiful community called Bayside.)

I like to do crafts.
(That’s why my second blog, Gotham Chick, is about crafting — jewelry making, polymer clay, papercrafts.)

I love to write.
(It’s my form of self expression and therapy…keeps me from doing a “Sisa”.)

I dabble in personal art.
(At the moment, it’s zentangling and paper crafting)

I have a collection of postcards, pencils and Starbucks mug (but actively collect the latter only at this point in time.)

I always have my point and shoot DSLR-like camera in my purse, and I love to take pictures of anything and everything under the sun (and stars).

I love to read. (although I don’t do it as much as I would want to)

I’m trying to be an online entrepreneur via ETSY.  (Although my shop is currently on vacation.)

I dream of winning the lotto and just lounging around in the house instead of slaving away in the office.
(Yes, I do have a day job.)

I can play half a dozen or so musical instruments although I don’t own one right now.
(Anyone giving away a magic piano that can fit into a suitcase when not needed? And I mean a REAL piano, not an electronic keyboard please.)

I’m a mom to a charming and bubbly 8-year-old who wants to marry me.
(Already told him not possible.)


Positive thoughts.  Woke up to a text message this morning that made me whisper those two words.  Oui. =)

One of my favorite words is “Yes”.  When Angelo was yet a toddler when “No” apparently became a favorite word, I would tell him I don’t like that word like I don’t like “cannot”.  So we heard more of  “yes” and “can”.

As I am a closet francophile, “OUI”, of course figures as a favorite word.  It tells me yes.  It says I understand and I’m okay.  I don’t know if it’s more of me saying that to myself or me just declaring it so I will be.  As Fe says, the universe is listening — and I’m listening to Fe.

Saturday morning pancake breakfast.  Oui indeed!  =)  I was getting lazy to mix up the batter and wait for the three pancakes to cook perfectly on the non-stick pan, but I looked at the sun shining so splendidly outside and I told myself it was a perfect weekend comfort food treat I couldn’t miss.  After assembling my pancakes (with tons of butter, heavy cream and maple syrup), I sat on the breakfast counter wrapped up in my own little world here and doing some “me” time, logged on, checked who was online (everyone out), if there were any new e-mails (none).  Just taking my sweet time and I drifted off to YouTube.

Just saw the official video of JASON MRAZ of a now favorite song, “I Won’t Give Up” whose lyric video I first saw and which I fell in love with.  I am officially a fan now.  The official video below is an even more profound masterpiece — you cannot argue with the power of human emotion onscreen, be it as still pictures or snippets of film.  If you had listened to the song and knew of it before watching the video, you’d love it and appreciate it even more after watching the clip below.

“And when you’re needing your space

to do some navigating,

I’ll be here patiently waiting

to see what you find.”

Oui.. =)

Art Journal Every Day: "As You are Mine, I am Yours"

With the first week of February ending, here’s my first post for 2012 for my Art Journal Every Day project.  Some 17 years ago, I watched Shakespeare’s  “Much Ado About Nothing” on the big screen where I came across one of my most favorite movie quotes of all time: “As you are mine, I am yours.”

The background for this particular journal entry had been painted some time in the third quarter of 2011, but I recently found it and started working on it again.  What to put in as journaling?  Dyaran!  The phrase suddenly came to mind as Fe reminded me about the quote, trying to figure out if it was “As I am yours, you are mine.. ” or if it was the other way around.  The solution, of course, was to google it.  I remember at the time, a dearfriend had gifted me with a native mat with this inscribed.  Funny how during this last trip to Manila, I actually found the mat as I was going through some old things in storage in my old home.  Someone would say things have come full circle — and I guess it’s my way of starting this year’s art journal where it all began.

A perfect way to start the year’s Art Journaling and keep in step with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s inspirational posts on continuing to chronicle one’s feelings, or days in a journal of self expression.

More to come.

Art Journal Every Day: A "Do Over"

This draft post has been sitting in my folder for a few days now and not even the Memorial Day Weekend got it to print.  Sometimes, even blogging which comes naturally in my head, isn’t quite as spontaneous when it requires logging on, or even typing away on the blackberry or other device.  Here goes..

I had thought I’d do a hodge podge collection of flower doodles with my watercolor pencils, but I didn’t get too far with that.  What to do?

The mistake:

I was almost resigned to having to “paste” together the two pages, when this bright idea hit me to try to do “cover” it up.  I browsed the local newspaper (preferring the absorbent material to the glossy finish of magazines) and voila!  See below.

The “Do Over”:

I wish I had the energy or the time to get on to finishing this layout, but the very thing that inspired me to create it has kept me preoccupied. “COPING”

I’m in the midst of another change at work which has me 30% preoccupied.  The 70% has me just going on with what continues in my life.

Pink flowers.  Hope comes to mind.  Optimism.  Life goes on.  Indeed.

The good news is that although I have been stumped on the creative side, I’ve taken up my pliers again and have started working on pieces.  I look at my mountain of supplies and realize that having them sit in their bins is not doing my bottomline any good.  The sooner I get more goods finished and posted, the faster I can realize a profit.

So many things happening at the same time.  I am hoping for some breathing space by taking a moment to blog.